The approved an early retirement program on Tuesday that will offer financial incentives for eligible employees.
Moving swiftly in the wake of a recent downgrade of theby one investment firm, the town held a public hearing on the local law to create the incentive package, then voted unanimously to approve it.
"We knew sooner or later it was going to come to this," said citing the lingering recession for the town's current shortage of cash. He likened the town's finances to households around Long Island, where costs have increased while income has not.
Venditto said the retirement plan could save the town a "significant amount" of money over the next few years with the reduction in the workforce. He and others stressed that the pensions for the retirees would be paid for through the state's public service pension fund.
The basics of the local law were laid out by Thomas Sabellico, the town's deputy commissioner of planning and development: To be eligible for voluntary retirement, an employee must be 55 and have been employed for five years.
The package would provide them with:
- $1,000 for every year of service to the town.
- Lifetime health benefits.
- Five years of family health benefits after the death of the employee.
- payments delivered in one lump sump or three payments spread out over roughly two years.
There are specific timetables for employees to make their decisions and those time frames effect the package.
The town has determined that there are 280 employees eligible for the retirement incentive, or roughly one quarter of the town's workforce. Sabellico said the proposal had the "full support of the unions" in the town.
Venditto said "a lot of thought was put into the plan."
"I don't expect the quality of life or town services to be impacted," he said.
Venditto said the town does not intend to replace the positions of the retired employees. Payroll makes up about 60 percent of the town's overall costs.